I want to write travel story novel.

My plan is to have 4 characters (2 guys and 2 girls), which decided to visit 4 European cities (probably I will choose Frankfurt - Germany, Reykjavík - Iceland, Uzhhorod - Ukraine and fourth must be invented).

I want to show culture and details of not very well known cities (that is why I did not chose London, Paris etc.) and in every location highlight one of four heroes.

All 4 heroes would be special, but I am aware that novel can turn to something like documentary film (which is not bad, but probably the reader would excpect some action, which is missing in my idea for now).

What would you force to read such novel to the end?

  • 2
    Did you pick these places because you went there by yourself? How about your own experience about travelling?
    – kikirex
    Mar 11 '19 at 0:34
  • Who are the characters? What is their relationship to each other and to each location? What do they WANT? Are they tracing their origins? Decoding a scroll? You don't necessarily need an external antagonist, but I think you need some motivation and obstacles for the characters. Mar 11 '19 at 15:34
  • @kikirex I picked Frankfurt and Uzhhorod because I was in that cities, I like them and I am able to describe them. I have never been in Iceland, but I like this country - both beautiful waterfalls and cute capital Rejkjavík with its buildings. Mar 11 '19 at 17:39
  • @April I described characters in my previous question. I will paste it here too. Jack - Leader of group. He is able to solve every problem and has practical skills. Hans - Sometimes he says or does something very silly, but in other cases he invents genial solutions. Lover of statistics. Makes photos of public transport in every city Lily - Very lively girl. Main source of fun. Millie - Very shy girl. Speaks rarely and fears from joining something. Together with Lily she makes blonde-brunette BFF duo. Mar 11 '19 at 17:42
  • @April What they WANT? To be honest, this is main problem. For now I just know that they want to visit new places (that ones I like btw). So thank you for motivation (tracing their origins, scroll). I know that in Eurotrip movie was motivation to meet penfriend (and potentional girlfriend) of one of heroes. Mar 11 '19 at 17:46

I'm not sure what a travel story is supposed to mean.

A story has a problem for the MCs to solve, an answer to find, something to discover. Most of my stories involve travel and discovering new things. If Frodo, in Lord of the Rings, did not have to travel to all kinds of new and interesting places, there wouldn't be a book!

Just tourists going on a trip is generally not that interesting. They need a mission, some underlying reason to go to these cities and look around. They are trying to find something. Solve a mystery. Find out what happened to somebody they know. Find out what happened 25 years ago. Or maybe they are trying to solve a puzzle that is a hundred years old: They found a new clue, and there may be a treasure at the end.

Also, although setting can be excellent, in general for a story what we are interested in is the MCs. What they think, how they feel, their relationships with each other (or others) and how those relationships are changing, or how their lives are changing. If they are new adults, this may be the last real trip they can take together, they have just graduated college and will soon disperse: The military, two jobs, and graduate school.

If they are looking for something, somebody can oppose them; you have a villain.

But you don't have to have a villain, the circumstances they are in can be the villain. They get lost. They get robbed. One of them is in love with another, and this trip is the last chance to do anything about it.

The setting is always the background. It can be most of the story, like Lord of the Rings, and it can seem to dominate the writing, it can be very interesting, but it is the background. You need a story, a struggle, a mission, to drive the characters through the setting, so you can show it to the reader.


I am not sure of what you expect from a travel story, but after what you described I would think of a coming of age story: characters are naive and learn valuable life lessons throughout their adventures.

Being in another country, confronted with new cultures and ways of thinking, may be a good starting point for characters that are ingenuous, had lived in their comfort zone for a long time, and have to compose with people they would have never met in their previous lives.

Not all characters may learn something, or they may learn and grow, or learn and toughen themselves, not necessarily in a good way.

The example I would give for such a story is L'Auberge Espagnole, a french movie about an exchange student who went living in Spain for a year because he is unsure of what he wants to do later in his life, meeting others students from all across Europe. Coming there with stereotypes in mind, eventually, he will learn to live, love and what kind of person he wants to be.

Speaking of the locations you picked, Reykjavik is a beautiful town and Iceland a definitely great place for growing characters: I went trekking in Iceland years ago, and I definitely learnt alot, from setting up a tent to knowing more deeply the people I went with, earning and losing friendships, and discovering marvelous landscapes that will stay forever in my memories.


Well its a travel story. You can show it as adventurous voyage. You should watch "Zindagi na milegi dobara". you'll surely get some best ideas.

Other than that you can read different blogs of the places you are choosing for the story. By reading different blogs about same place, you'll see a place with different perspectives and by that you'll get different ideas to add in your story.

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